Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department Celebrates Outstanding Citizen Contributions


On Thursday, March 5, the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, in cooperation with the Gainesville-Alachua County Cultural Affairs Board, the Nature Centers Commission, the Public Recreation and Parks Board and Gainesville-Alachua County Art in Public Places Trust, will present the Arts Awards, Star Awards, Albert “Ray” Massey Citizen Volunteer Award and the Public Art Award to citizens who have made outstanding efforts to promote cultural and arts activities, environmental awareness and recreational activities in 2014.

The Gainesville-Alachua County Cultural Affairs Board will award a 2014 Individual Arts Award, the Business Arts Award and the Lennie Kesl Lifetime Arts Award to honor significant and sustained contributions to the arts in our community.

The 2014 Individual Arts Award is being presented to Lauren Caldwell and Jessica Layne Hurov of the Hippodrome Theatre. Lauren Caldwell has been the artistic visionary at the Hippodrome Theatre for more than two decades; she has produced world and regional premieres, worked with nationally-known playwrights and artists, distinguished herself as a superb actor and created a reputation for unsurpassed artistic excellence for the organization. Jessica Layne Hurov has been with the Hippodrome for nine years, becoming its managing director in 2014; she brought with her a high level of entrepreneurship, conservative fiscal management and transparency. Together, with their results-driven, collaborative approach, Caldwell and Hurov have reimagined the brand of the "The Hipp," reinforced its role as a community cultural treasure and strengthened its financial foundation.

The 2014 Business Arts Award is being awarded to Satchel’s Pizza. Satchel's Pizza has been an iconic Gainesville eatery since 2003, and serves as an important showcase for local visual artists and musicians, regularly hosting live music and exhibitions and celebrating the region's wealth of both mainstream and non-traditional art.

The 2014 Lennie Kesl Lifetime Arts Award is being presented to R. Gary Langford. Langford exemplifies an individual who enriches the Gainesville community through the gift of his talents as a performer, teacher and community leader, with contributions spanning four decades, including his roles as president of the International Association of Jazz Educators' Florida unit, director of the UF Jazz Band, Gator Marching Band and Alachua County Youth Orchestra, as well as a founding director and board member of the Gainesville Friends of Jazz and as the current director of the Gainesville Community Band.

The Art in Public Places Trust will award the 2014 Public Art Award to individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to the enhancement of the greater environment through public art.

The inaugural 2014 Public Art Award is being presented to Richard Heipp. Heipp is respected and admired as a practicing artist, in addition to his major leadership role as an arts educator at the University of Florida, where he currently serves as director of the College of the Arts, School of Art and Art History. He has taught painting at UF for 35 years, as well as inaugurated the first course in public art offered for students.

The Nature Centers Commission presents Star Awards to citizens who have made significant and beneficial contributions to Gainesville’s natural environment. Star Volunteer Award recipient is Francis E. “Jack” Putz. The Star Good Neighbor Award recipient is Doug Hornbeck, and the Star Green Business Award recipient is Canopy Climbers.

The 2014 Star Volunteer Francis E. “Jack” Putz dedicated 12 years of service to the City of Gainesville Tree Advisory Board and Tree Board of Appeals, serving many of those years as chair. During his tenure, the Tree Advisory Board completed the first City of Gainesville Urban Forest Management Plan, and accomplished the update of the city’s “tree ordinance,” the section of the land development code dedicated to tree regulations that provides for protection of Gainesville's tree canopy. The ordinance update took more than 10 years to complete.

The 2014 Star Good Neighbor Award is being presented to Doug Hornbeck. In recent years, Hornbeck and his neighbors near Boulware Springs envisioned reinvigorating land restoration efforts in the area.  Last year, he hosted site visits and meetings that, due to the enthusiasm and wisdom of the multi-agency participants, have been productive in overcoming many barriers and complexities to moving forward.  Now partners are working to restore a natural area that crosses city, county, state and private property boundaries that will have coordinated land management, and that may someday match the beauty of Morningside Nature Center.

The 2014 Star Green Business Award is being presented to Canopy Climbers for promoting appropriate recreational use of City of Gainesville Nature Parks by offering unique tree climbing experiences, allowing citizens to experience the thrill and excitement of exploring Gainesville’s tree canopy in a safe, sustainable and user-friendly way. Canopy Climbers founder Danny Lyons has brought his enthusiasm for the environment and expertise as an experienced guide to these activities, giving Gainesville another reason to enjoy being outside.

The Public Recreation and Parks Board presents the Albert “Ray” Massey Citizen Volunteer Awards to citizens who have worked to enhance or improve recreational activities in the community. The 2014 award is being presented to Annie McKoy. McKoy has dedicated the last 12 years to the Phoenix Neighborhood in the heart of southwest Gainesville. The neighborhood had so many children who did not have any afternoon activities and were constantly getting into trouble in the surrounding complexes. McKoy did not see any of these issues as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to help make a neighborhood better. She has truly impacted the city one child at a time, and her presence is a lasting one in the community.

The awards presentations will begin with the reading of the proclamations by Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy in the City Commission auditorium, which is located inside City Hall, 200 E. University Ave., at 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception at the Thomas Center Building A, Spanish Court at 302 NE Sixth Ave.